I Got Wood For Money

I am now hauling wood.

The culture at this lumber distributor is different than I am used too, but then it’s not a trucking company. I have been driving for them about a week and a half, and there have been some shakeups. I could tell when I interviewed that things were off and leadership was basically nonexistent there. After reading The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell (I highly recommend it) these lapses in leadership really stand out to me.

I think the company has gotten away with it thus far because for the most part it is populated by some really good self-starters. Nonetheless I could tell leadership was completely missing. I was partnered with the company’s oldest driver both chronologically and in longevity, he has been allowed to skate for years. He’s a technically proficient driver, and he’s got over three million miles with the company. He’s a slacker though, to the bone. Coming from the world of mileage paid drivers it irks me. This is the hazard of hourly pay in the driving world. There’s no real incentive to lay down miles. As long as the deliveries are made on time, you can really take as long as you like, indeed you are incentivized to do it. The longer a load takes the more it pays. We actually have one driver who can routinely make a three-day run out of something that should barely be overnight.

My soon to be Father in Law helped me get this job, as in he told me it was available and told me not to mention him when I interviewed. Apparently, the boss doesn’t like prospective employees to know current employees, it’s weird. Anyway, the guy who did the hiring knew about our connection and asked me about it directly, I being me, and living by the values I live by couldn’t lie. It obviously didn’t matter he hired me on the spot regardless.

I interviewed and was hired on a Thursday, then started on Monday. The company’s driver trainer who I mentioned above was out of town on what is now my Thursday overnight load to Spokane. The Friday between me being hired and me actually starting work my future Father in Law fell on the ice and broke his femur. This has been an interesting catalytic event at work.

Now he’s a yard worker and I’m a driver, we’ll never really even work with each other, let alone one over the other. In fact, I’m starting at a higher wage than he makes. The thing is that whole self-starter thing I mentioned, well, with him on workers comp, they’re down one of those guys. All the work that he would have done on his own, now has to be assigned to other guys, and it really highlights this failure in leadership. In just the last week the cracks around the edges of this place have really shown themselves. One guy quit twice since I started.

I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

I rode with the trainer two days while the front office got me set up with an electronic logging device, now legally required on the vast majority of trucks, then he rode with me until we got back to the yard Monday. He was contacted Monday by the boss who told him he needed to release me unless there was a problem so that he could do his usual overnight route up along the Canadian Border, an area of the state we call the high-line. He wasn’t thrilled, he was enjoying his time riding in my passenger seat and watching YouTube videos on his phone.

I was supposed to take a short load Tuesday, because the Quitting Guy struck again on Tuesday morning the Boss didn’t really have time to deal with the paperwork that morning before the trainer had to start his load. I felt pretty useless around the yard, until I just went home because there wasn’t even really any work, I was mostly useless at that I could do.

This morning, miracle of miracles, I could drive, it was the same short route I was supposed to do yesterday (Tuesday) and only had the far stop at the end, but at least it was work I could feel valuable doing. While I was on the road my Fiancée called me to let me know that The Boss had just announced his resignation. All this fraying around the edges, all these cracks that showed themselves when one of the organization’s strong workers became unable to work led straight to the Boss’s desk.

I’m not worried about myself, the company does need drivers, and I’m pretty good at it. I am very interested to see how this shakes itself out though.

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